George Mpombo says the instruction from President Edgar Lungu to the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) to incorporate the Church in the dialogue has raised suspicion that the institution is an extension of the Patriotic Front government.

And in an interview with News Diggers! Mpombo said Zambians are tired of the ‘political shenanigan’ by President Edgar Lungu and his opposition counterpart Hakainde Hichilema.

He was reacting to a directive from the Head of State to the ZCID that it should facilitate for the church to lead the dialogue process.

“The instruction from President Lungu to the ZCID was inappropriate because it raises suspicions that ZCID can succumb to the request by State House. This will look like proof that ZCID is an extension of the PF. But regardless of that oversight or inappropriate action, I think what we should do is, if the Church comes on board, they should be given a proper status. They should be fully recognized. They must come in as full partners and be given full powers, not as mere observers; it’s only when they are given those powers will that organization inspire confidence among Zambians. But for the future, State House must refrain from writing and instructing the ZCID because they will end up sabotaging the entire dialogue process,” Mpombo advised.

Mpombo also observed that the two political party leaders were full of bitterness, which he said had created an attitude of irreconcilableness within them.

“The PF and UPND leadership are the biggest stumbling blocks to the political peace process in the country. And through their actions, they are holding the whole country to ransom. Zambian people are becoming wary and also tired of the political shenanigan by the two leaders. This is an opportunity for the country to move forward in terms of peace and reconciliation. So, it is important for these two leaders to go beyond the stuttering of empty verbiage, embrace the peace process unconditionally and demonstrate, at least for some inexhaustible magnanimity and vision, so that they can restore confidence in the peace process. And also, they must understand that the peace process is not about the two leaders or their political future; it is about the people of Zambia. It is, therefore, important for them to ensure that this peace process is brought on track. Everything in the world depends on people’s attitude. Even if it’s an angel that came to chair the meeting, if the attitude of the people who are petitioners is not conducive, it’s not agreeable, nothing can be achieved. People must be able to disagree without being disagreeable,” Mpombo said.

“So, our two leaders must be saved from the jaws of bitterness, the scourge of bitterness between them. They must be set free because once they have this kind of bitterness, they are going to return the country to the battle for freedom. They must understand and ask themselves, which country in Africa has got this kind of inconclusive peace process? And Zambia is even lucky that the Commonwealth has come on board trying to settle their differences. First of all, we must not deny that the Commonwealth played a very fundamental role; they set the template for dialogue to this political process. We must not rubbish their influence; it’s the Commonwealth that set HH (Hakainde Hichilema) free. We were not going to have peace without the Commonwealth coming in. So, what we are saying is that the peace process is very important for Zambia. The two leaders must humble themselves. They are both not humble, but they should understand that the sun does not shine on Zambia through them. The peace process has got a strong bearing on 2021. It has got a strong bearing on the unity of Zambians. If we do not harmonize these issues now, the country will be moving in a fractured manner.”

And Mpombo, who also served as Zambia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria during president Michael Sata’s reign, said the revelation by State House that President Lungu knew of the Constitutional Court judgement regarding the illegal stay of ministers in office was a “great blunder of catastrophic proportion.”

“You see, that one is a great blunder of catastrophic proportion. Because, you see, what that does is to undermine the confidence in the judicial system. How possible is it that the government can be privy to judgements before they are made public? And also, if that’s the case, the courts have been accusing their staff of leaking judgements pre-maturely. It means there is a well-entrenched practice; there is a well-entrenched system of people manipulating the judicial system. But that should have never happened, and this should have been condemned even by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) who are the custodians of laws. They should be jotted out of sleep. This undermined court proceedings. Because what will stop people from fleeing the country when a judgement leaks that they will be arrested? That is a serious anomaly by State House, it’s a serious lacuna,” lamented Mpombo.